Survival: it's a word many of us on the East Coast heard this week following Hurricane Sandy. Devastating areas of New York and New Jersey, many have been left without homes to return to, and several remain without heat as temperatures drop.
As I watch my city rebuild, I've thought a lot about what the infertility community can learn from this experience. When it comes to our health as women, couples, and individuals, understanding there are resources available can go a long way as we embark on our unique journeys.
5 Infertility Survival Tips for Infertility & Beyond
- Decide to stay or go. In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg, along with the MTA, shut down the subway system and evacuated low lying Zones around New York. If some people did not heed the advice of officials, Sandy's death toll could have been worse. How long have you been receiving treatments for infertility? Are treatments harming your mental well-being or affecting your relationship(s)? It may be time to seek other alternatives like adoption or surrogacy.
- Ask for help. 311, Facebook, Twitter and local shelters were among the places people in need of information, shelter, and supplies used following the storm. There is no need to suffer alone -- many women have struggled or struggle with infertility and share the feelings you have during your lowest moments. Search the web for resources and communities you can join or ask your clinic about support groups. You never know what you can learn from others!
- Take deep breaths. Stress and frenzied behavior ran rampant this week following Hurricane Sandy's wreckage. When natural disasters strike, accepting that we cannot control the oncoming storm is something we must accept. Taking deep breaths and frequent timeouts to regain control of our personal reactions are lifesavers when it comes to infertility, miscarriages, or failed IVF treatments as well. When you need to power to keep going, just remember to take a deep breath. You're still alive!
- Stay focused. Borrowing from tip number 3 above, staying focused as life seems to lose control around you can be a difficult task. For many East Coasters, commuting to work was hindered by damaged railways and closed tunnels, contributing to the overall sense of tension caused by Hurricane Sandy. If you work to stay focused on those things you can control -- eating habits, exercise routines -- emotions surrounding the uncontrollable become more manageable.
- Help others. Just when I thought I had it bad without power for a week downtown, I realized millions more remain without heat or hot water as more cold weather approaches. Giving back to those in my community helped put things into perspective, and can help you along your infertility journey as well. You've been through certain things that are new to others, and can offer the knowledge of experience to other women just starting out. Who knows -- you may even learn something about yourself!
Our hearts and thoughts go out to those still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, just as they go out to those struggling with infertility. Please remember to help you neighbors, you never know when you'll need it in return!
Image: Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net